With fall upon us and winter approaching, parts of the country are already experiencing inclement weather. Heavy rains and winter storms can wreak havoc on driving conditions and pose a real danger to Illinois motorists. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) statistics, more than 5.8 million vehicle crashes occur every year. Approximately 21 percent of those involved hazardous weather. Slippery or icy roads can lead to a driver losing control of his or her vehicle, resulting in car accidents with serious injuries or even fatalities. That is why it is even more important for everyone on the road to be extra alert during bad weather and drive responsibly in order to avoid a potential collision.
Weather Factors That Can Lead to Crashes
There are various conditions that bad weather causes, and it often depends on the temperature outside. Based on how warm or cold the air is, precipitation can result in fog, rain, sleet, hail, or snow. If the air temperature drops, water on pavement can turn to ice, a significant driving hazard. Below are some of the major weather conditions that occur in Illinois, which can increase the chances of an auto accident:
- Rain and flooding: The average automobile can be swept off the road in one foot of moving water. In addition, streets covered by water can collapse. Attempting to drive through water can also stall a car’s engine, possibly leaving you stranded.
- Snow and ice: Icy pavement lacks friction and vehicle maneuverability, increasing crash risk. It can take up to 10 times longer to stop on an icy road as it does on a dry one. Experts suggest allowing 20 seconds of time behind the car in front of you.
- Low visibility: Foggy conditions reduce the distance a driver can see ahead of the car.
- Strong winds: Higher vehicles are most affected by high winds, but sudden gusts can blow any automobile off course. Also, striking any type of debris that is blowing in the wind at a high speed could be fatal, so it is imperative to travel at a slower speed.
Driver Behaviors That Can Cause Collisions
Today’s traffic enforcement patrols promote safe driving techniques in an attempt to reduce the number of accidents. From posted speed limits to DUI checkpoints to electronic signage alerting drivers of slow-downs ahead, they are all meant to keep our highways safer.
In many cases, drivers attempt to blame poor road conditions, equipment failure, or other motorists for accidents. However, the reckless behavior of a driver is usually the primary cause. The following are some common actions that negligent drivers take that can lead to a crash:
- Speeding: Traveling at a high rate of speed can cause a driver to careen out of his or her lane and collide with oncoming traffic or other stationary objects. Since it takes more time to stop on slick roads, a driver should slow down when it is raining or snowing.
- Distracted driving: Doing anything that takes your eyes or attention off the road even for a few seconds can be dangerous. This may include texting on your cell phone, putting on makeup, eating, and even talking to passengers.
- Fatigued driving: Getting behind the wheel when drowsy or tired greatly reduces your reaction time since you are not as alert or aware of your surroundings.
- Driving under the influence: Operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol or drugs is not only risky, it is illegal. Controlled substances impair your ability to drive in a safe manner since your reflexes and decision-making skills are considerably slower.
Contact a DuPage County Personal Injury Lawyer
Studies show that rain or snow can increase the chances of an auto accident. Everyone who gets behind the wheel of a car must take extra precautions when driving in hazardous weather. If you or a loved one were hurt in a motor vehicle crash, another driver may be at fault for driving too fast for conditions or acting recklessly. A skilled Wheaton car accident attorney can help you gather the appropriate evidence from your crash to determine liability. Call the Law Offices of David W. Clark, P.C. today at 630-665-5678 to schedule your free consultation.